Clarus Commerce CEO Tom Caporaso discusses how brands can maintain engagement levels and boost customer loyalty in a time when modern retail customers have infinite choices at their fingertips.
(As originally published on PaymentsSource on October 8th, 2018.)
Modern retail customers have infinite choices at their fingertips. They can easily find any product at any time at the best price. There’s no pain in switching brands.
That’s why gaining repeat customers is necessary for long-term retention and brand loyalty. And that’s why traditional retailers are now executing on strategies centered on enhancing experiences, building emotional connections, and of course beefing up their loyalty programs.
For example, Nordstrom revamped its in-store experience by launching the Nordstrom Local stores in Los Angeles where clients can pick up, try on online purchases in-store and have them altered on-site, as well as various other non-shopping-related services.
The goal, which is to provide customers with an experience that keeps them coming back, seems to be well within reach for Nordstrom considering it posted 4 percent same-store sales growth for the first time in three years.
According to Nordstrom officials, Nordstrom Local is a service hub designed specifically to support customers in a convenient and efficient way on their terms.
Customers can access services, including Personal Stylists, Buy Online Pick-Up In-Store, Alterations and Tailoring, and Trunk Club services in a convenient central location.
A Nordstrom Personal Stylist can help customers with anything from fashion advice, to a whole new wardrobe, or to finding the perfect gift at any budget. Customers can make an appointment with a stylist online, over the phone or in person.
Nordstrom Style Boards is a new tool that allows sales associates and Personal Stylists to create digital boards filled with personalized fashion recommendations.
Nordstrom’s The Nordy Club loyalty program gives members increasing status based on spend. Higher statuses includes greater experimental rewards like entry to invitation-only shopping events, exclusive services such as free alterations and access to beauty and style workshops.
At The Finish Line, company officials tailor one-to-one, personalized experiences based on what they browse and purchase. Through those personalization efforts, they continually create more meaningful loyalty benefits while maintaining a high level of service.
For example, a key element of the customer experience occurs behind the scenes with the post-purchase experience and returns. Customers expect that process to be as seamless as the shopping experience and, when it is, they appreciate and value that.
The Finish Line’s new in-store experience drives more customer engagement and loyalty.
Officials implemented an RFID Digital Display, whereby customers can view content specific to that shoe, which drives a deeper level of storytelling, product information, and service. Customers can also try on shoes in front of the company’s SneakerFeed Mirror, which changes the background of the mirror.
For The Finish Line, it’s no longer just about the transaction. It’s about delighting the customer.
Meanwhile, Vans, the original action sports lifestyle sports brand and one of the largest youth culture marketers in the world, launched its first customer loyalty program, Vans Family, earlier this year.
Vans Family is an interactive loyalty program designed to recognize, reward, and celebrate Vans fans for who they are and what they like to do. As a part of the Family, members receive insider information, exclusive custom designs, access to member-only contests and experiences, and sneak previews of upcoming product releases.
Members also receive points for shopping and for engaging with the brand. Family members will also have access to exclusive patterns to customize footwear and accessories in the Vans Customs platform, along with “Off the Wall” experiences.
The new experiential loyalty program aims to engage all Vans customers, from newcomers to loyalists. Engagement opportunities include answering poll questions, along with sharing photos and stories. With their points, members redeem for things like opportunities to win athlete-autographed products, as well as partner- and sponsor-associated digital rewards.
Vans officials designed the program to get to know consumers by observing behaviors and offering tailored experiences, unique products and services and personalized brand interactions. The program wasn’t built as a transactional driver, but as a brand initiative to drive a deeper connection between the brand and consumers.
Unique and relentless customer-centric approaches, like the ones used by Nordstrom, The Finish Line, and Vans are great examples of how brands can maintain engagement levels and boost customer loyalty.